Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home." She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated."
My Experience With Dr. Abravanel's Body Type Diet
I first heard about Dr. Abravanel's book from my friend Julie. I hadn't seen her for over a year and complimented her weight loss. She also looked so healthy and seemed to glow from within.
Julie gave me a brief overview of the diet plan she was following. She had taken Dr. Abravanel's test and found out she was a thyroid type. She'd been following the diet for six months and was already down to her ideal weight. She claimed she had new-found energy and her moods had balanced out.
Although I wasn't overweight, I was interested in having more energy and feeling happier. I was suffering from digestive problems and felt lethargic and unmotivated. But when Julie told me that she thought I was also a thyroid type and that I would have to control my sugar intake, I told her that I didn't have a problem with sugar. My friend just smiled and said, "if I can do this diet then you can, too!"
I thanked her and said I'd think about it. She loaned me her book and after doing the body type test, I found out that I was a thyroid type, just as she'd predicted. I bought a digital version of the book but it still took me another month to get up the courage and motivation to try the diet.
I won't lie. The first month was difficult. I didn't realize what a sugar addict I'd become! But I was also starting out on a journey to better health. After a month, I felt so much better that I decided I could try one more month. And the rest is history.
Dr. Abravanel's diet changed my life forever. I am no longer a slave to sugar. I still enjoy sugary treats sometimes, but the diet completely changed the way I eat. And I thought I had a healthy diet before Dr. Abravanel. It's wonderful not to be controlled by food cravings. I have enough energy to exercise, work all day in the office, cook when I get home and more. My moods have leveled out and I feel a lot happier. My digestion has improved.
Since then, five more friends have tried Dr. Abravanel's diet plan. All have enjoyed similar experiences. Why not try it and see for yourself?
Overview of the Plan
Dr. Abravanel developed the body type diet after he saw some of his patients lose weight on a certain diet while others, following the same diet, didn´t lose any weight or lost weight only from certain places on their bodies. Dr. Abravanel asserts that all body types are determined by which gland dominates our metabolism: adrenals, thyroid, pituitary or, in the case of women, the ovaries (gonads). These glands affect the way we assimilate food and where on our body fat is deposited. This explains why some of us have quicker or slower metabolisms and why some lose weight on a high protein diet while others don´t.
This concept makes sense. There are other diet plans that are based on a similar concept. It is a well known fact that our hormones, diet and lifestyle affect fat distribution. Dr. Abravanel has designed four diets for each of the four body types. If followed religiously, these diets are guaranteed to improve your health and cause loss of fat in desirable areas of the body.
Have you ever seen a pear-shaped person go on a diet and lose weight from the top half of their body, taking on a gaunt, thin-faced appearance, while retaining fat deposits on the lower part of their body? Dr. Abravanel´s diet is designed to avoid such an outcome. Instead of feeling weak while following this diet plan, you will feel strong and in control of your health.
According to Dr. Abravanel, a woman who tends to gain weight on the stomach and high on the body, across the shoulders and back, and also craves greasy, salty food may have a metabolism dominated by her adrenals. Women who tend to carry soft fat equally distributed all over their bodies and crave dairy products may have a pituitary-type metabolism. Those who crave sweets, starches or caffeine and gain pounds in the hips and upper thighs while retaining a defined waist may have a thyroid-driven metabolism. Those who have an obvious pear shape and crave rich and spicy food may have a metabolism driven by their ovaries.
Of course, there are other factors involved in typing the metabolism. Also, some people may share characteristics of more than one body type. For that reason, Dr. Abravanel developed a test that can be taken to determine your metabolism and body type.Then he outlines the perfect diet plan for your metabolism.
Is This Diet for You?
A study of body shapes of over 6,000 women conducted by researchers at the North Carolina State University in 2005 revealed that the average woman´s waistline has expanded by six inches since the 1950´s. Much of this can be attributed to the modern diet and lifestyle. But there is a light at the end of the proverbial dark tunnel. Dr. Abravanel´s research shows that a diet tailored to our own unique metabolism or body type can actually alter where the body deposits fat.
In my personal experience and those of six of my friends, we have found that Dr. Abravanel´s diet improved our energy level, mood, and appearance. We feel healthier and more in control of our lives. This diet is not extreme or faddish. It is a lifestyle change that alters our way of eating, sleeping and exercising. It involves consuming plenty of fresh produce and, depending on the body type, dictates the proportion of proteins and carbohydrates that are consumed. It is also low-fat and includes about 1,200 calories a day.
I highly recommend reading his book. He provides drawings of the different body types that may be enough to determine your metabolism type. I am including a paraphrased version of his test that you can use to determine your body type. In follow-up articles, I share information on the diet and lifestyle changes for each body type.
Dr. Abravanel's Test for Female Metabolisms
Part 1: Your Appearance
- For those who are at their ideal weight, or no more than 20 pounds overweight:
A. Your upper body is smaller. Your lower body is in decent shape, but is stronger and more substantial than your upper body.
B. Your strong and sturdy appearance may be due to strong bone structure rather than developed muscle. Your upper body is stronger and thicker than your lower body.
C. Your frame is delicate and graceful, with good balance of weight and strength in the upper and lower body.
D. Your appearance is under-developed and girlish, more like a girl than a woman.
- Use this set of questions if you are 20-50 pounds overweight:
A. You are a definite pear shape. Your stomach is relatively flat, but you carry much of your weight in the outer thighs and rear.
B. Your body shape is square and sturdy. You carry weight on the front of your body and above the waist, especially in your stomach and upper back. Weight gain is also seen in face, hands and feet.
C. You are curvy, with weight both above and below the waist but with a defined waist. Your face, hands and feet are still fairly slim.
D. You have gained weight all over your body and look like an overweight child.
- Use this set of questions if you are more than 50 pounds overweight:
A. You are pear-shaped, carrying a large amount of weight in the rear end. You also carry weight in the stomach, but less than the weight on your rear.
B. You gain weight in the middle, in the form of a prominent stomach, with extra weight on your back. You also carry weight in the rear end, but less than the weight you carry in the front.
C. You are curvy, with extra weight above and below the waist, but still have a defined waist. You have gained weight in the face, limbs, calves and lower arms, but less than the weight you carry around your middle (chest and thighs).
D. Your shape looks undefined, with fat all over and not much definition at the waist. You carry extra weight in the breasts and on the knees.
- Viewing yourself from the front, which best describes your basic shape?
A. You have a heavier lower body and strong legs. You have a proportionately smaller head, shoulders, breasts, and chest.
B. Your overall look is square as you are thick and strong both above and below waist. You are full-figured, without a defined waist.
C. You are small-boned and long-limbed. You have a defined waist and equal curves above and below the waist.
D. Your appearance is childish and without many curves.
- Viewing yourself from the side, which best describes your shape?
A. You have a slightly swayed back and prominent rear end.
B. You have a straight back with either a flat rear end or a rear end that is tucked under with a low, flat appearance.
C. Your lower back is straight, your neck comes forward somewhat. Your rear end is rounded but not very prominent.
D. Your shoulders are rounded, your head leans forward, your rear end is small and undeveloped.
- Viewing yourself from the back, which best describes your shape?
A. Your shoulders and back are narrow. Below the waist, your lower hips and upper thighs are the widest places on your body.
B. Your waist isn´t well defined, your shoulders are strong although not very broad, and you are square-looking from shoulders to hips.
C. Your shoulders and hips are about the same width. Your waist is defined. You are widest in the upper hips.
D. Your appearance is childish, with narrow hips and an undefined waist.
- Your face is:
A. Small in proportion to your body. Your eyes may slant downward.
B. Square or round.
C. Long and thin.
D. Large in proportion to your body size.
- Your hands are:
A. Longer in the palms than the fingers. Your fingers are blunt.
B. Square and your fingers blunt.
C. Long with tapering fingers
D. Small and fine with tapering fingers
- Your chest and breasts are:
A. Small chest with small breasts
B. Large chest with large breasts
C. Small chest with medium or large breasts
D. Medium chest with small breasts
- Looking at yourself from the back, where do you gain most of your weight?
A. Lower hips, outer thighs
B. Across the shoulders and back
C. Your middle in the form of a spare tire, wide hips, heavy upper thighs
D. Distributed evenly all over the body
- Looking at yourself from the side, where do you gain most of your weight?
A. Back: a prominent rear end
B. Front: a prominent stomach
C. Front and back: waist remains defined
D. You have a rounded, childlike stomach and rear end and an undefined waist.
- Examine your body for cellulite (fat deposits with a cottage cheese-like appearance). If you have cellulite, where is it mostly located?
A. On your rear and saddlebags
B. On your stomach, back or upper arms
C. On your thighs
D. On your knees
Part 2: Your Food Cravings, Health & Disposition
- Which do you consider your principle food craving?
A. Rich and spicy food (Thai, Mexican, etc.)
B. Greasy, salty food (cheeseburger and fries)
C. Sweets or starches (bread, cookies)
D. Dairy products (milk, cheese, ice cream)
- Which food would tempt you most at the end of a long, exhausting day?
A. A taco with hot sauce
B. A cheeseburger
C. A piece of cake or cookies
D. An ice cream cone
- How many caffeinated drinks in the form of coffee, tea or cola do you drink daily?
A. 1-2 cups
B. 3-4 cups
C. 5 or more cups
- Which best describes your energy pattern?
A. Good in the morning, best in the evening
B. I feel pretty energetic all day but get tired in the evening
C. Up and down all day
D. I´m a morning person
- If you exercise, why do you do it?
A. Because it feels good
B. Because I´m supposed to
C. So I can eat more
D. To feel an exercise high
- Which is your most typical small health problem?
A. Urinary tract infections
- Do you have any larger health problems?
A. Breast lumps
B. High blood pressure
C. Ulcers/stomach issues
D. Chronic allergies
- Do you tend to have cramps during your menstrual periods?
A. First day only
D. Don´t know—I never noticed
- If you could work anywhere, where would be best for you?
A. At home
B. In a well-run corporation with room for advancement
C. Traveling the world
D. In a serene, comfortable office
- If you could have any job your heart desires, which would you choose?
A. Teaching something I am passionate about
B. Marketing something I believe in
C. Creating something I love
D. Designing something people don´t even know they need yet
- Which best describes your disposition?
A. Sensuous, warm and comfortable
B. Friendly, open and practical
C. Lively and moody
D. Intellectual, detached and idealistic
- When you´re at your best you are:
A. Radiant and loving
B. Friendly and outgoing
C. Bubbly and funny
- When you´re at your worst, you are:
C. Depressed and irritable
D. Withdrawn and obsessed
- Which best describes your temper?
A. Quick tempered but easily won over by flattery or apologies
B. Slow to get angry but when you do, you stay mad for a long while.
C. Impatient and inclined to get depressed when defeated
D. Feel upset after a disagreement and have a hard time talking about it.
Now, add up the points for each letter: A, B, C, D
A= Gonadal type
B= Adrenal type
C= Thyroid type
D= Pituitary type
What if You Have a Tie?
If you have any doubt about your body type after taking this test, go through the questions again with the aid of a close family member or friend. The person must not be shy about answering questions regarding your body shape. They may also be able to help you pinpoint your cravings if they are not obvious to you. If still in doubt, you may need to call a trained body type counselor. The phone number for the hotline is included in the book.
Some factors can make it hard to type yourself. You may be very balanced. If you are more than 50 pounds overweight, your body´s features may not be so obvious and easy to categorize. Some of your features may be due to your genetic background instead of your type of metabolism. If you are over 50, some of your body´s characteristics may have changed with age. And if you´ve had cosmetic or reconstructive surgery, you must answer the questions according to what you looked like before surgery.
Body Types in Summary
Craving: rich & spicy food
Craving: greasy & salty foods
Craving: sweets & starches
Craving: dairy products
You tend to gain weight below the waist: butt & outer thighs.
You are strong and tend to gain more weight in upper body.
Fine boned & graceful, you tend to gain weight in the upper abdomen. Your hips are about as wide as your shoulders.
You tend to gain weight, in the form of soft fat, all over your body
The Bottom Line
Although you must feel inspired enough to follow the diet religiously during the first weeks, once you begin to see results I guarantee you will feel motivated to make it a lifestyle. Once you have lost weight and balanced your metabolism, the maintenance diet is much easier. It even allows you to again eat some of the “downfall foods” you must avoid during the initial stage of the diet.
I recommend trying the diet for 30 days. If you don´t see any improvement after carefully following the diet for your metabolism type, then you can forget about it. No harm done, right? After all, the diet is low-fat and includes lots of fresh produce and an adequate amount of protein and carbohydrates depending upon the body type.
You are starting a journey that could change your life forever! Why not start today?
Buy Dr. Abravanel’s book:
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Questions & Answers
Question: So, I took the test and I'm a dead split 13/13 (Adrenal/Thyroid). Part 1 was 13 B's and 1C (Adrenal), Part 2 was 13 C's and 1 B (Thyroid). Could my body type be such a solid, clear split like that? Is the body shape based on something different than the food craving part of the testing? I ask, because I also test as a split metabolism type: "balanced" for carbohydrate/protein ratios. I’m curious what your thoughts are.
Answer: According to Dr. Abravanel, 25% of the population aren’t clear representatives of their types with regards to cravings, body shapes and personalities. If you are either very overweight or very well-balanced, have features specific to a certain genetic background, have had cosmetic or reconstructive surgery, are over 60 or are a Gonadal type who has gone through menopause, it may make discovering your body type more difficult. The book has more information that could be helpful. If you’re not interested in purchasing the book, you could try the diet for adrenal types and, if you don’t get results, try the thyroid type diet.
Question: Are there any other weight loss solutions?
Answer: There are as many diets as there are opinions about weight loss. Dr. Abravanel’s method is unique because it takes into account that diet plans shouldn’t be one size fits all. It teaches you how your specific body type reacts to foods which will lead to permanent weight loss.
Question: I'm 14 years old and overweight. Should an overweight teenager go on this diet?
Answer: Dr. Abravanel developed this diet to be balanced and healthy for each body type. When in doubt, consult your family doctor. I’m sure he or she would be happy to give you a recommendation.
Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 04, 2016:
MzBejabbers, knowing your body type is a start. I wrote a Hub called "Body Types Diet--Thyroid Body Type" that will give you an idea of thr foods you should eat and those you should avoid. Even if you don't need to lose much weight, this diet will improve your health. Thank you for coming by.
Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on February 04, 2016:
Just now found this while looking for something else. Very interesting. I am the thyroid type, but I had a precancerous thyroid removed six years ago. I'm not overweight, well, maybe about five extra lbs around the upper abdomen and waist. I want to eat healthy. What do I do now?
Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on November 06, 2014:
ShariBerry, we do change with age but Dr. Abravanel is right that we can control many factors through our diet. Thanks for reading.
Sharon Berry from Michigan on November 05, 2014:
This just makes so much sense. When young I didn't have to diet and could eat anything I wanted....now quite a different story.
Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on October 17, 2014:
Thanks for your comment anglnwu. I also feel that one diet isn't right for everyone. This diet is healthy and effective!
anglnwu on October 15, 2014:
Very detailed. I've heard of body types and how one diet that works for some may not work for others. Your evaluation guide is very useful. Thanks for the interesting read.
Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 10, 2014:
Ologsinquito, this diet is a healthy way to lose weight. I hope you try it.
Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 10, 2014:
DealForALiving, this diet is a healthy way to lose weight. I feel so good on it that it's become a way of life. I hope you have a chance to try it.
ologsinquito from USA on September 10, 2014:
I want to lose 10 pounds. Maybe I should try this.
Nick Deal from Earth on September 09, 2014:
Very well researched and good to know.
Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 09, 2014:
AudreyHowitt, from your description it sounds like you're an adrenal type. I think if you looked at the drawings in the book, you would probably be able to identify your body type. If in doubt, that's what I would do. I hope you have a chance to try this diet. I learned so much about myself from this book and continue to follow the principles.
Audrey Howitt from California on September 09, 2014:
Wow--so interesting--I tend to be the apple shaped and overweight carrying most of my excess in the middle--and I crave salty greasy foods--so am I adrenal or thyroid?
Denise Handlon from North Carolina on June 06, 2014:
Very interesting! I'm intrigued with this study...thanks for sharing. :)
Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on June 03, 2014:
Suzanne Day, my husband is an adrenal and he also loves hamburgers and has a big appetite. I'm glad you found this interesting. I've found you can be strict at first with the diet and then modify, listening to your body as you go. I hope you have a chance to try it. Thanks for your comment!
Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on June 03, 2014:
I had a bit of fun figuring out I was an Adrenal and the concept that something about your body means you need a more tailored diet sits well with me! No matter how much dieting and exercise I do, it doesn't seem to work, even when followed accurately. It might also explain while some times of the year I tend to have a large double chin, when other times it has vanished and my weight is constantly up and down. Food for thought! Thought I'm gonna have to do something about the cheeseburgers. Voted useful and up!
Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 30, 2014:
Au fait, I agree. It was my friends' success with the diet that gave me the motivation to try it. Every time I go off of the diet I don't feel as well, so it's definitely worth it for me.
C E Clark from North Texas on May 29, 2014:
Sounds like a healthful, useful plan. I especially appreciate that you shared your own experience and that of your friends. Lots of diets sound good, but knowing someone who has actually tried the particular diet and gotten good results makes a big difference.
mylindaelliott from Louisiana on May 24, 2014:
Very helpful and useful information.
Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 18, 2014:
Deborah-Diane, I'm glad you found this information useful.
Deborah-Diane from Orange County, California on May 17, 2014:
This is so interesting. I really need to try this to get rid of my belly fat. Thanks!
Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 09, 2014:
Sanjay lakhanpal, thank you for the comment and vote.
Sanjay Sharma from Mandi (HP) India on May 05, 2014:
Thanks for sharing this valuable information. I enjoyed reading the hub. Voted up.
Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 05, 2014:
Epbooks, thanks for coming by.
Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on May 05, 2014:
Very interesting hub. So much information to absorb!
Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 05, 2014:
Vickie, you are right! It is a recipe of sorts. It really is a useful book. The diet is so healthy and makes you feel more balanced. It's nice to hear from you.
Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 05, 2014:
Rebeccamealey,thank you for your comment,
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on May 05, 2014:
This sounds like a diet that is safe and highly effective. Thanks for the info on Dr. Abravanel's Diet. This is the first I have heard of it.
Vickiw on May 04, 2014:
Vespawoolf - I had a chuckle about this! It is still a recipe, and a very valuable one, but quite a bit more complex. I will definitely think about getting the book. Thanks for this very interesting read.
Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 04, 2014:
JackieLynnley, thank you for your kind words! It really is a good diet and I feel so good on it. We do eat well and can still have treats once a week. Not too bad! I hope you can give it a try.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on May 04, 2014:
Dieting use to be so easy for me. When it was time to go to the doctor I fasted the day before and lost that five extra pounds. Now that is a joke! I can even fast and nothing falls off any more. Age sure makes it hard and this sounds very interesting. I know you cook so good you probably can make the worst food good while nutritious! ^+